Category Archives: young adult

forget to remember to forget

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson 2008 (266 pgs)

When Jenna wakes up, she can quote the entire text of Walden Pond, but she can’t remember her best friend’s name. Or even if she has a best friend. The parents she doesn’t remember tell her she’s been in a coma following an accident. As Jenna comes to terms with the disturbing holes in her memory, she finds that there’s more to her past than her family wants to tell her.

Good balance- enjoyable to read, while also tackling larger issues of medical ethics and the nature of identity. Made for a fun afternoon read.

blood is thicker

The Society of S by Susan Hubbard 2007 (320 pgs)

Ariella doesn’t realize what a sheltered life she’s led for her first thirteen years until she’s introduced to the wider world through her housekeeper’s family. She makes her first friend, has her first kiss, becomes enthralled by the horses at the nearby track, and generally learns what it is to be involved in the world. She also begins to wonder what became of her mother and why her father is so mysterious and otherworldly.

Yup, dad’s a vampire. And because Ariella is the child of a vampire and a human, no one knows quite what she will become. So she sets off to search for her mother and discover her own identity.

Enjoyable, quick read. The characters are exceptionally well developed, with even peripheral characters are fully sketched and well-drawn. I’ll definitely pick up the sequel.

that old black magic

Seeing Redd  by Frank Beddor (#2 in The Looking Glass Wars) 2007 (371 pgs)

As she adjusts to her regained rule and strengthens her imaginative powers, Alyss faces double the trouble as two villainous despots separately scheme to steal her queendom. Her evil aunt Redd is back for another round- raising an army from earth where, after escaping through the Heart Crystal she and The Cat have been re-imagined by an accommodating artist, albeit a bit fuzzily. King Arch of neighboring Boarderland has also been coveting the crown, laying plots and WWMDs under cover of political friendship. And if besiegement weren’t enough, Alyss is also struggling with her feelings for her childhood friend Dodge, now leader of her personal guard. A strong entry in a meticulously imagined series. I look forward to more. 

total eclipse of the heart

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (#3 in the Twilight novels) 2007 (629 pgs)

I’m not exactly the target audience (witness the use of a cheesy 80s song for the post title.) Nevertheless, I do enjoy revisiting the land of teeny angst and drama occasionally.

This third entry finds Bella in an emotional tug of war between her vampire boyfriend Edward and her werewolf best friend Jacob (who’s naturally in love with her). Add in the necessity of keeping their world a secret, a vampire in search of vengeange, and rampaging spree killers in nearby Seattle. Stir. And enjoy.

the light through yonder window

New Moon  by Stephanie Meyer (563 pgs) 2006

It’s tricky to write a romance when half the couple is absent (unless you count auditory hallucinations) for nearly the entirety of the book.  Or I guess that leaves room for more angsty longing.  Meyer’s depiction of adolescent heartbreak is spot on and the story is entertaining despite the lack o’ loving.

When Edward and his vampire clan pull up stakes with the grandiose intent of making Bella’s life a safer, happier one- the plan of course backfires.  Bella is flattened, left drowning in despair for the better part of a year.  The only thing that returns her to some semblance of her former functioning self is her friendship with Jacob.  Only he’s not exactly a normal human himself.  Enter peril and near death experiences ultimately leading to the lovers’ reunion.  And leaving Bella stuck with a dilemma of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t proportions regarding her continued humanity.

angst & vampires

Twilight  by Stephenie Meyer (498 pgs) 2005

My favorite type of reading is the “just-one-more-chapter,” “up-way-too-late,” “excited-to-get-back-to” kind.  Twilight fits the bill perfectly. 

When Bella moves from sunny Phoenix to gloomy Forks on the Washington coast, she resigns herself to a miserable existance.  Instead she finds herself drawn to the mysterious and compellingly handsome Edward.  As she becomes entwined in his life, she discovers that Edward and his kin are vampires (luckily of the non-human-eating variety.)  The star-crossed love that grows between them is of the most unusual variety: human and vampire.

sugar and spice and kung-fu skillz

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City  by Kristen Miller (387 pgs) 2006

It was an ordinary night for Ananaka, until she glanced out her window and saw a figure crawl out of a sinkhole in the nearby park.  After locking eyes with her, the figure waves, grins, and runs off.  Sneaking down in her slippers, Ananka discovers an underground room at the bottom of that hole.  Even more amazing, she finds a book detailing a “Shadow City” stretching out beneath New York, and a trapdoor that leads to an expansive corridor filled with doors.  Before she can explore, Ananka has to slip away as city workers come to fill the hole in. 

Ananka resolves to find a way back to the Shadow City.  Her chance comes when a new girl joins her school.  Ananka becomes intrigued by the small white-haired girl who answers “Dangerous” to a teacher’s question of what she wants to be when she grows up.  The girl is Kiki Strike.  When Ananka begins following her, she finds that the girl is even more interesting than she first seemed: she disappears at will, never seems to eat, and foils muggers.  Ananka soon realizes that Kiki was the figure she saw crawling out of the Shadow City.

Ananka soon joins Kiki as she gathers squad of quirky rebel girl scouts (a chemist, a forger, a mechanical genius, and a master of disguise) to explore the Shadow City.

Interspersed with fun how-to’s ranging from “foil a kidnapper” to “create simple disquises” and odd facts about New York, Kiki Strike is a fun adventure that promises sequels.